Workshop sees positives

NANAIMO – Writers to share work at Nanoose Bay.

Derek Hanebury

Derek Hanebury

A small collective of writers will gather at Nanoose Bay to share their works and learn from each other next weekend.

On Sept. 13, author, poet and English professor Derek Hanebury will be hosting a fiction workshop at Nanoose Place.

“Basically it is a chance for people working on short stories to bring a story and get some feed back from not only their fellow writers in the group, but from me,” he said.

The full-day workshop, which still has some spaces available, is open to writers of all levels and ages and is intended to inspire.

“I am just looking forward to it,” he said. “It is going to be a lot of fun and at the same time I am hoping that everybody gets a lot of encouragement and inspiration.”

Hanebury is a professor at North Island College at Port Alberni and holds a master’s degree from the University of British Columbia. Over the years he has hosted plenty of writing workshops and  stands behind the concept.

“I am a huge believer in workshopping,” Hanebury said. “I went through six years of it in post-secondary education and I just find that people learn so much from looking at other people’s work.”

While the workshop will point out a writer’s weaknesses, Hanebury said it is important to recognize a writer’s strengths.

“I really do like to encourage people  to focus on what is working in the stories and be positive about it,” he said. “The purpose of the workshop is not to bring in a story and rip it to shreds.”

Hanebury noted that it is often difficult for writers to notice  their own mistakes, but easier for writers to notice other writers’ mistakes.

“It’s hard to see it in your own work but it is easy to see in others,” Hanebury explained. “So you learn from others and you hopefully don’t repeat those problems in your own work.”

Hanebury’s novel, Ginger Goodwin: Beyond the Forbidden Plateau, was published in 1986 and in 2005 his poetry book, Nocturnal Tonglen, was published by Ekstasis Editions. He said the biggest mistake that young fiction writers make is the inability to dramatize.

“It really depends where they are at on their writing,” Hanebury explained. “Beginning writers, they tend to tell instead of showing. They don’t dramatize.”

Hanebury said his students have been great teachers.

“I am analyzing their work and where they are having trouble and I do translate that to my own work as well,” he said.

Nanoose Place is located at 2925 Northwest Bay Rd. The $50 workshop begins at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. To register, please e-mail or visit

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